Gennadiy Golovkin vacates his IBF title: Will he fight Erislandy Lara next?

By Boxing News - 02/08/2023 - Comments

By Sam Volz: Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) has vacated his IBF middleweight title in a move that is seen as a way for him to swerve his ordered defense against mandatory Esquiva Falcao, which he would have been required to take next.

Nevertheless, the soon-to-be 41-year-old Golovkin still has a mandatory due against WBA ‘regular’ 160-lb champion Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs), which would be even more problematic for him than the undefeated 2012 Olympic silver medalist Falcao (30-0, 20 KOs) would have been.

Although the talented southpaw Lara is turning 40 in April, he’s still quite dangerous and fighting at a very high level, and looking better in his recent fights than Golovkin has.

Should Golovkin fight Lara?

Perhaps what Golovkin has in his favor is that Lara is now a stationary fighter in his late 30s and is no longer the mobile guy he’d been a decade earlier, when he was avoided by many, including Canelo Alvarez and some believe by GGG.

It would be a bad look on Golovkin’s part for him to vacate his WBA title and swerve Lara because it would become evident to the boxing world that he doesn’t believe he can beat the talented Cuban, even now with him having lost his legs.

Other than Jermall Charlo & Jaime Munguia, there isn’t anyone for Golovkin to fight at 160 that will bring him a sizable payday. Canelo Alvarez has already fought Golovkin three times, and he’s not going to give him a fourth fight after GGG’s poor showing last September in a 12 round unanimous decision at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

To some, it looked like Golovkin put in very little effort to attempt to defeat Canelo in that fight until the championship rounds, and even then, he was mostly clinching, stalling out the rounds.

GGG needs to fight with more urgency

For Golovkin to beat a guy like Lara, he’s going to need to fight with a lot more urgency because the lazy approach that we saw from him in his last three contests against Canelo, Ryota Murata, and Kamil Szeremeta won’t be nearly good enough to defeat Lara.

The Cuban will embarrass Golovkin and send him into retirement with a one-sided loss, which might happen anyway.

If Golovkin is going to avoid Lara, too, he will need a popular enough opponent for there not to be a massive backlash from the boxing public for giving up his last title at middleweight. The only ones that make sense on that end would be for Golovkin to face one of these fighters next:

  • Jermall Charlo
  • Jaime Munguia
  • David Benavidez
  • Caleb Plant
  • Jermell Charlo
  • Demetrius Andrade

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